2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
My husband had always wanted to cruise the Panama Canal, so this time was his choice. This was our 4th Holland America cruise and it was a decent one, as they all have been, but the overall impression was of mediocrity. The food was OK, ... Read More
My husband had always wanted to cruise the Panama Canal, so this time was his choice. This was our 4th Holland America cruise and it was a decent one, as they all have been, but the overall impression was of mediocrity. The food was OK, the room was clean, our room stewards (Made and Rosa) were excellent, the entertainment was fine, although the Mainstage area was very cold. We also had a problem with dirty glassware in the Lido - something we had never experienced before. By the end of the trip, we were checking every glass for lipstick smudges or dried orange juice! I guess I was most disappointed with the offshore excursions. The only ones worth the time and money were in Huatulco - we went to the Zapotec ruins, which were interesting, and the coffee plantation in Guatemala, also extremely interesting, plus the lunch there was delicious! (coffee mousse, anyone?) They cancelled our snorkeling excursion on Half Moon Cay - they said the weather was too rough!??? - so that was a major disappointment. The trip to the old capital city of Leon in Nicaragua was also disappointing - they coupled it with a trip to the home of the poet Ruben Dario, and we spent far too much time there and not enough time in the small but very nice art museum. I could have easily spent another half hour or more in the museum as we only got to see a small portion of the artwork. It will be a while before we take another Holland America cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
WE decided to spare Captain Mark Rowden’s blushes. The gallant Yorkshire-born skipper of the Holland America Line’s Westerdam had probably had enough after his vessel was apparently, as the late Frankie Howerd might have said, ... Read More
WE decided to spare Captain Mark Rowden’s blushes. The gallant Yorkshire-born skipper of the Holland America Line’s Westerdam had probably had enough after his vessel was apparently, as the late Frankie Howerd might have said, verily thrice whupped by the Island Princess. Yet earlier, the Island Princess had been the butt of the jokes around his own ship. One of Westerdam lecturers was rash enough to show a map, pointing out: “The Island Princess had to go all the way round South America to reach Panama Canal. Yet it was almost on their doorstep in Fort Lauderdale.” But cliche though it might be ... it is still true that he who laughs last etc. So what happened? Well, the first hint of a reprisal came on the evening of March 16 when we were advised by a letter “there will be two ships in port and we will be sharing the same narrow pier to dispatch the tours”. Followed by a list of what NOT to do. So what happened? Although the Westerdam arrived first next day, the Island Princess had thoughtfully and craftily nicked all the best parking spots in advance for their tour buses in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. The net result was that our tour was dispatched 45 minutes late. The following day, on the run in to the Panama Canal, the Island Princess whipped past us like Lewis Hamilton overtaking a backmarker. This meant, of course, they were tantalisingly ahead of us all day during the passage itself. And all the while there was great honking and tooty fruiting of sirens from both sides. Don’t know enough about ship points scoring even after 20-plus cruises to judge who won that battle. They were at it again in Cartagena, Columbia, where the best someone could do in the face of taunts from the Princess vessel was a rather pathetic sign saying: “Our balconies are bigger than yours.” Which was, fortunately, true. We had sailed on the Island Princess in 2015. The morning after our departure from Cartagena was accompanied by one of those freak weather scenarios where the wind was blowing so hard that it felt as though our balcony door was permanently locked. It took a massive heave from one of our cabin stewards to force it open. The floor of the balcony was littered with bits of detritus, including a pair of knickers. That very same morning Captain Mark was giving a sort of “My Job” talk in the theatre, followed by a question and answer session. Given the proximity of our forward balcony position virtually below the bridge we wondered whether it might be prudent to ask him whether any of his crew might claim ownership of the said undergarment ... or alternately, know who the owner might be. Eventually, after a discussion, we decided to spare him any further embarrassment. The excursions themselves were generally acceptable with the exception of the first rather humble one in a very crowded and noisy Puerto Vallarta. But, annoyingly, all the guides insisted on leading from the front at a pace which would have made them genuine contenders for a 10km walk medal in the Olympics, completely ignoring the average age of their charges. We were reminded of that on the very first day when we entered the Lido Market casual dining area to be greeted by a flustered senior woman steward, busily mopping the floor with tissues and informing us: “Please be careful where you tread. A lady has just peed on the floor.” Or the couple who arrived an hour late for an excursion, blissfully unaware that the time had moved another hour foward the previous night. The ship travelled 4,301 miles from San Diego where boarding was amazingly rapid. Less than an hour after being picked up at our pre-cruise hotel we were in our cabin. Praise was slighly tempered when the ship departed an hour late without a proper explantion. The odyssey ended in Fort Lauderdale where chaos reigned supreme and we parked next to a building site. On the way we visited Puerto Vallarta and Huatulco in Mexico, Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala, Corinto in Nicaragua, Puntarenas in Costa Rica, the Panama Canal, Cartagena (Columbia) and Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas, where we might have created a record by catching one ferry out and the next but one back. We admit we’re not beach people and there was no wi-fi on this private Holland America island. And talking of wi-fi ... we were sent pre-cruise data with their prices. The offer of $100 for 250 minutes seemed a fair deal but when we rang the desk to book it, we were told the offer had now been withdrawn. Yes. Thank you. Other niggles: Complete confusion over departure arrangements. We were sent Pink 1 luggage tags and told our approximate departure time. It was just as well we rang the information desk to check something. They then informed us we had been sent the wrong tickets. They should have been Red 1 and new ones were duly supplied with an apology and a different departure time. Plus note: We were were allowed to stay in our cabin and have breakfast there until we got the call. Departure from the ship was amazingly fast, too. It then took an hour to clear customs and and a further hour waiting in broiling sunshine for the coach to take us to Fort Lauderdale airport. Bad one Holland America! Good points: 1.) Sya, the ship’s towel folding star, and his mate Alan were our pleasant and capable cabin stewards. Hope they were happy with their tip. 2.) The courtesy throughout the ship was impeccable. 3.) Top-class live band in B.B. King’s theatre. Fair points: 1.) Entertainment quality rather mixed although we only once used those “bummer” seats next to the aisle in the Mainstage Theatre which enable people to leave without disturbance if the show is a bummer. 2.) We always eat in the Lido-style establishments. It’s quicker and there is a wider choice. It was on the whole, though, only marginally above average in quality. 3.) As so often happens on cruise ships, the temperature was far too cold in some places, particularly the Mainstage Theatre and some of the bars. *The ship was nicknamed the “Westerdram” by the heavier whisky drinkers in Gallery Bar. Not guilty, m’lud! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
We had not cruised with Holland America before so we gave it a try. The ship was quite, the bathroom was bigger than the shower rooms on other ships. There were no lectures or line dancing for my wife during days at sea which if it had of ... Read More
We had not cruised with Holland America before so we gave it a try. The ship was quite, the bathroom was bigger than the shower rooms on other ships. There were no lectures or line dancing for my wife during days at sea which if it had of rained there would not be much to do. The shows were not very good only the ventriloquist was worth seeing very funny. the food in the main restaurant in the evening was disappointing not much choice on the menu, the onion soup was disgusting. they only had one specialist coffee which was on deck 10 no coffee card. The on board shop was boring we had $300 dollar on board spend. The crew were excellent always polite and smiling. Very good embarkation/disembarkation but got us to the airport far too early 8 hour wait for our flight and 4 hour wait to book in. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
This cruise represented a couple of firsts for us; it was the first time we had booked air and transfers with the cruise line, and the first time we had a verandah stateroom, both of those proved to be nice additions to the cruise ... Read More
This cruise represented a couple of firsts for us; it was the first time we had booked air and transfers with the cruise line, and the first time we had a verandah stateroom, both of those proved to be nice additions to the cruise experience. As this cruise started out of San Diego we took a risk and booked our flight for the departure day as it is only a two hour flight from home and there are a multitude of flights everyday. We had the quickest check-in experience we have ever had, perhaps because we were later in the day. It was a little odd that some of the online check-in information such as credit card info and the request for twin beds had not come through, but those things were taken care of quickly. Our stateroom was a good size for two with enough room to unpack our things, though slightly more counter space might have been nice. The verandah was more enjoyable and useful than we had anticipated. We used it as a quiet place to read and for bird watching during the day, and for stargazing at night. We were at the stern and just one deck above the Promenade. The stern of the Promenade is closed to passengers during the canal transit so it was a great advantage to have this verandah as it provided an up close rear view going through the locks. The ship has beautiful and interesting artworks throughout, I particularly loved the floor mosaic which was slightly damaged but still very beautiful, although I cannot now recall whether it was on the Promenade or Lower Promenade deck. Some new touches since the last time we sailed with Holland America that we enjoyed were: Lincoln Center Stage where there were 45 minute classical music concerts by a piano quintet five nights a week at 7:00 and 9:00 (and sometimes in the afternoon); EXC Guides, whose job is to tell you how to enjoy the port on your own, not the shopping stops or a big upsell for the shore-excursions, but facts about the country and area you are visiting and practical tips for how to get around and sights you might like to visit (some of the presentations were more helpful and informative than others); America’s Test Kitchen presentations which are a lot like watching a semi-live episodes of the show. We did not attend many of the evening shows, just the Planet Earth II in concert which was marvelous, and an Argentine group which was quite good. The food was, on the whole, excellent. We ate breakfast and lunch (when on board) in the Lido and dinner in the Dining Room each night. We had free seating and went to dinner between 5:15 and 5:45 every night which meant we never had a wait, but there were some long waits for those arriving later, particularly on gala nights. At breakfast the waits for omelets could sometimes be longish but generally not too bad and it was, as usual for Lido on every ship I have been on, often difficult to find a place to sit. At lunch there was a great variety in what was offered. The best were often the asian dishes, (the Indian food was amazing!) but they also offered some excellent vegetarian sandwiches. The taco bar was probably under-utilized and so offered a quick tasty lunch if you did not feel like standing in line for something. The burger/hot dog counter seemed to always have a huge wait, they even gave you a buzzer so you could sit while you waited, if you could find somewhere to sit. Dining room service could be slow, but the food was beautifully presented. There were a couple dishes that I did not like, but most were tasty and a few were excellent, including an amazing chocolate dessert which had a long name we had never heard of and cannot remember, so be sure to ask what something is on the menu if you don’t recognize it. For disembarkation we did not put our bags out as we only had carry-on sized luggage and we had booked an excursion and transfer (our flight was in the evening) so we were in the third group called after the expedited passengers and those who took advantage of the ships luggage direct service which transferred checked bags to the airport and checked them for you. The times were slower than expected so rather than being called at 7:45 we were called at 8:25 so we got a bit worried that we had somehow missed the call, It is the first time we have been on a ship that did not allow persons with only carry-on bags to depart whenever they wished. Puerto Vallarta Took “Two if by sea” excursion by motor Catamaran. The morning was cool and the water somewhat rough. On the way out we were given breakfast and an introduction to the area. We paused briefly at Los Arcos, small rocky islands, to see nesting Blue-footed Bobbies, Pelicans and Cormorants. We then suited up with snorkel, mask and fins for the first stop Majahuitas Cove. Our guide, a marine biologist, led the snorkeling bringing up sea creatures like urchins and sea cucumbers from the bottom for everyone to experience. Visibility was good near the rocks where we entered the water and there was a lot to see, then as we swam toward the beach where the boat tied up, reduced to almost nothing. It was a fair distance swimming and one man became exhausted and had to be towed back to the boat. The water was quite cold and the boat apparently had wet suits available, but I did not learn that until I was already in the water. There was a chance to kayak for those interested. After the water activities, brunch was sandwich fixings, including some really awesome roasted vegetables, more fruit, a macaroni salad, water and juice, and the bar was open for those so inclined. At the second stop, Yelapa we walked through town and up to a waterfall the guide went sometimes a little too quickly as some people got behind and did not get to hear some of the commentary about local plants and etc he shared along the way. It was a pretty little waterfall and a cute little town. We then had an hour on the beach with lounge chairs and umbrellas. On the way back to the ship the captain took a route further out to sea and we spotted a sea turtle, several Manta Rays, and we were very lucky to spend several minutes with Humpback Whales, a mother and baby. The crew put on a fun and rather silly lip sync show to keep us entertained when not spotting wildlife. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
My wife and I wanted to celebrate our 55th wedding anniversary by going to Hawaii to escape cold weather without a long airflight. We have taken numerous cruises with Holland America and enjoyed all of them except that we can notice ... Read More
My wife and I wanted to celebrate our 55th wedding anniversary by going to Hawaii to escape cold weather without a long airflight. We have taken numerous cruises with Holland America and enjoyed all of them except that we can notice cutbacks in many areas. First, the good: The staff, in general, was very friendly and helpful, (more on staff heads later). We didn't need much extra, but when I contacted the front desk for minor things, they were very helpful. The food was excellent with a reasonable number of choices. The exception was that the soups in the Lido were almost all purees that didn't have much taste. The service in the main dining room was sometimes very slow, but they were really working at it (probably a result of staff cutbacks). The staff in the Lido was always ready to help or bring drinks or anything else that was needed. We did not take many shore excursions because we had been to Hawaii several times and had taken most of the tours we were really interested in, and it seems that they have gotten considerably more expensive. Now the bad: The ship was recently refurbished and has a brighter look and some high tech displays on deck 10 where they now sell land tours and future cruises instead of the night club where it should be to avoid continually frigid throughout the hallways and especially the main showroom. Many passengers wore jackets (not sport jackets) throughout the day. There was a scarcity of onboard activities, especially for 5 sea days each way, although they had plenty of art auctions. The computer classes were good, but the internet was very slow and unreliable even though it was expensive. The average of the passengers was close to 80 and most of the main stage shows were totally inappropriate to the passenger age level, except for shows put on by "Hawaiian Ambassadors" on the ship or those who came on at Honolulu. The sound was unbearably loud (decibel level over 100 as measured by a fellow passenger; anything over 85 is detrimental to hearing ability) in all the venues, including the Lincoln Center Stage (classical music) even when they were accompanying a BBC Earth film. When complaints were voiced about the cold and the volume at the "coffee chats" (there was no coffee involved) with staff heads, the responses were " Thanks for the input", "it's hard to control the temperature" and not that the volume would be turned down, but "the volume has been turned down from what it used to be" and nothing was done, As one passenger put it, "if the sound has been turned down, I can't imagine what it was like before". The Cruise Director seemed to only be around to introduce acts or conduct afternoon trivia or "coffee chats": we did not see her mixing with passengers. The staff heads were unresponsive to input from the passengers. We've taken numerous cruises with Holland America, but we've had about enough and no longer recommend HAL to our friends. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
A destination we've always wanted to try and it didn't disappoint. Embarkation was as easy and quick a always. Arrived by 11 on board before noon. Ship is absolutely beautiful. Crows nest is reconfigured. Didn't ... Read More
A destination we've always wanted to try and it didn't disappoint. Embarkation was as easy and quick a always. Arrived by 11 on board before noon. Ship is absolutely beautiful. Crows nest is reconfigured. Didn't have a problem with it but - there is plenty of room for a larger library, dance floor and a quiet dance group. EXC is ok where it is but there is lots of unused space. New seats were nice as far as I am concerned. They took the dance space out of the Ocean Bar and people danced on the carpet where they could find room. One more small, quiet group that you could enjoy and/or dance too would have been nice. Cabin was ready and nicely redone. Bathroom is small and needs a little updating but everything worked well. Bed was comfortable and bedding wonderful. Room steward was beyond accommodating as on any HAL ship. Dining in MDR was very good and service great - I do feel there has been a cut back on staffing and that makes it tough. Dinners did not take as long as some people have said. Lido was delish and if you can't find something you like, well..... I loved the 'pre-made' sandwich which gets a bad rap. Fruit was yummy and breakfast is always good. Pinnacle Grill was over the top. Dive In has great burgers and fries. Entertainment was so so in the main stage area. BB King Blues band is beyond good and the dueling piano bar was packed every time they played. Biggest issue is - happy hour only in two spots and not nearly enough staff to man the stations. Not enough Drink staff by the pools either. The Ports were great - didn't do any HAL excursions - pricey! Booked a 10-1 tour in Costa Rica with Thumbs Up tours !!!!! Will never forget it. ATV tour with Amigos tours in Cabo - also good. We ended up on a 'tour' with a local in Nicaragua - great - $10. Chiapas was not needed and not enough time in Cabo. Had a minor problem with the Greenhouse Spa charging mandatory 15% gratuity and not telling you till you were done ( it was printed in fine print in a couple of places) Would consider it again as there is lots to see but there are lots of other cruises to take also. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
The Westerdam Circle Island cruise was a perfect choice as it was literally round-trip from our hometown.... Also, we'd heard good things about Holland America and figured we would give it a try...as we are in the process of shifting ... Read More
The Westerdam Circle Island cruise was a perfect choice as it was literally round-trip from our hometown.... Also, we'd heard good things about Holland America and figured we would give it a try...as we are in the process of shifting travel gears to do more cruising in the future. Two thousand passengers is a whole lot of people to confine in close quarters for a lengthy sea voyage, but with a balcony as respite from the 'Madding Crowd' we were OK with that. The ship is lovely, well appointed, after removal of the atrium concept others have, felt more like a real ship. The 2017 refurb left things very spiffy looking and well functioning. As it was a longer cruise the travelers were all adults...no kids or teenagers and mostly the crowd was 50+ in age. While that made for pleasant company, it also meant more passengers needing quite a bit of assistance and slower elevator times. Again, not a problem but a consideration. I felt there could have been more staff available to assist in the buffet area, however. Not easy leaning on a cane or pushing a walker with a plate of food!! Just a minor note! If I have any criticism at all it is this: the entertainment was in most cases not what I would assume an older crowd (and I am in that group) would appreciate. The shows generally were very "Las Vegas" meaning loud, glitzy and over amped. We attended those which were a bit more aimed at our taste. Also, the enrichment programs were scanty and poorly done. One major exception: THE HAWAIIAN AMBASSADORS aboard ship were amazingly knowledgeable and presented fascinating lectures and programs for us all. The trip home offered nothing along the lines of 'enrichment'. The staff in the MDR seemed overwhelmed at times with the amount of work. I frankly don't know how they coped, so despite what other reviewers may say, I found the food amazingly good: properly prepared, professionally served, and pleasantly tasty. I honestly believe most of the severe criticism I read is based on some assumption that the MDR is supposed to be a five star experience. You honestly cannot expect that when it comes to feeding 2,000 people a variety of foods. The food in the buffet was tasty and offered a wide variety. I was, however, chagrined to see passengers filling their personal coffee and water bottles/containers at the urns, despite a prominent sign asking them not to do so. A crew member standing guard and making sure it didn't happen might have helped. The whole concept of doing this is, to me, a bit outrageous. All the staff were very helpful and ready to fulfill any request....there just didn't seem to be enough of them...that is HAL's failing as I don't think it is limited to the Westerdam. Over all, would I sail again on HAL. Yes, depending on the itinerary and ship size--the smaller the better. Thanks for listening! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Greed seems to be the drive for Holland America and the parent company (Carnival). The internet service was worse than the old dial up system in the 90's, and at $25. a day or $179. for the cruise, it was definitely not worth it. We ... Read More
Greed seems to be the drive for Holland America and the parent company (Carnival). The internet service was worse than the old dial up system in the 90's, and at $25. a day or $179. for the cruise, it was definitely not worth it. We signed up, but had to wait for emails and or Text, finally just waited until the next port to answer emails and other communications I liked the Idea of paying gratuities up front, but it took the encentive away from the service personal onboard. Of course some strived to please while others just did as little as possible to get by. Service suffered in the main dining room as it was 30 to 45 minutes between courses. Weather prevented us from going to one Island (one I was really looking forward to visit) and only port charges were refunded. We spent an extra day on Oahu which we had already been on for two days, I realize all costs for the cruise line remained except for fuel cost to travel to the other Island. I believe some restitution is in order, after all we paid to visit four islands and only visited three. Ship problems occurred on the way back and had to stop the ship to keep ballast from banging the hull of the ship. You could hear and feel it throughout the ship. Lots of shuttering and vibrations at night prevented a good nights sleep and we were as far away from motors as possible. Not all was bad of course, ship was well appointed, and we watched some good movies on sea days (very expensive way to watch movies I might say) All in all the cruise was average at best, and the ships sells people did there best to sell you everything possible. Photos were fuzzy and expensive, the whole experience reminded me of "Hey Lady Beach" in Mexico, if you catch my drift. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Excellent value and an excellent ship. We opted for a Signature Suite 6045 which was well worth the money. Room Stewards (Nyoman and Yusep) were attentive and always accommodating with a smile. We had thoughts of opting for the upscale ... Read More
Excellent value and an excellent ship. We opted for a Signature Suite 6045 which was well worth the money. Room Stewards (Nyoman and Yusep) were attentive and always accommodating with a smile. We had thoughts of opting for the upscale restaurants, but elected not to do so since the regular food service and quality were very good. Our Wine Steward, Yohan, was exceptional and most helpful. Being that the cruising itinerary has almost 7 sea days, the entertainment and ship-board amenities have to be good. The Lincoln Center Stage quintet was excellent, and, although we did not see all the stage presentations, the few that we saw were very professionally done. Land tours were good, and the bus lines were not long, given that there were several handicap people on board. The several tour guides that we experienced all spoke with different levels of English competency, which is to be expected. All in all, they were knowledgeable and had good senses of humor. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
14 of us book a cruise from our bridge club. We notified HAL we needed a table and bridge supplies and they said "no problem" Had we known they wouldn't supply anything we could have brought our own stuff. This where the bad ... Read More
14 of us book a cruise from our bridge club. We notified HAL we needed a table and bridge supplies and they said "no problem" Had we known they wouldn't supply anything we could have brought our own stuff. This where the bad started. LIES, LIES, LIES after they get you money your just screwed. At one point of the cruise at port the closed the kitchen for hot foods saying the power went out. MORE LIES. There was hot food available for people willing to pay extra. The port times were really short and to far away from most things. Best way is to buy the excursion from the ship and shop on the internet before you go. They DO guarantee price matching. It was by for the best part of the cruise. Sad to say. The entertainment was crap. A talking dummy, ventriloquist. That's the best they could do. One night they even made the crew put on a show. SAD The pool in the back of the ship often got blasted with black blobs burnt oil from the diesel engines. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this cruise because it went through the entire Panama Canal and ported at places we had not seen. It satisfied all those. Unlike Caribbean cruises, each and every port had different ethnic, social and landscape. We learned a ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it went through the entire Panama Canal and ported at places we had not seen. It satisfied all those. Unlike Caribbean cruises, each and every port had different ethnic, social and landscape. We learned a lot about the history of the locality. We chose a variety of HAL sponsored excursions and three private tours. I highly recommend the private ones. The HAL ones were crowded and some were not staffed with adequately knowledgeable tour company staff. The highlight of the tour was transiting the Canal. We did marvel at the engineering necessary by the French and Americans to complete the task. We did NOT like that the commentary by the 'expert' was doing from the Captain's deck was not able to be heard any place but the aft deck, the Promenade Deck and the Crow's Nest. It was not transmitted to other decks or onto balconies/verandas. Since this was for sure the main reason people took this cruise, it should have been. Also noted that daily morning announcements, times to disembark or other information - including emergency ones - were not able to be heard unless you had your cabin door open. We encountered multiple incidents where information given to me by Guest Services was contradicted by information given to my husband. Also many of the GS attendants spoke with such an accent that it made understanding them and them me, difficult. I have nothing but praise for our room steward, dining room attendant and assistant attendant and maitre d. They were always anxious to please us. The wine steward was less so once we told him that we were not interested in purchasing a wine package or even a bottle. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this cruise for the Panama Canal full transit, and the plus that the ms Westerdam was refurbished earlier this year. I read several reviews before the cruise about the refurb modernizations, mostly people missing what was no ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the Panama Canal full transit, and the plus that the ms Westerdam was refurbished earlier this year. I read several reviews before the cruise about the refurb modernizations, mostly people missing what was no longer there. One major change, and one I never saw mentioned, was the addition of 4 USB charging ports in our cabin: 2 at the desk and 1 at each night stand. Had I known, I would have left the mini-extension-cord-with-USB at home. At least I didn't need to use it - ever! The other changes to the ship's decor and style felt like an upgrade for me, also. I remember the previous HAL style from trips about her sister ship, ms Zuiderdam, and similar styles on the Eurodam and Ryndam, and while I enjoyed those ships repeatedly none of the changes felt "drastic" or "out-of-character" with Holland America's general sense of class and elegance. The public areas were gracefully appointed and comfortable. The background muzak for some areas was unpleasant but that may have only been our take on it. HAL needs to reaffirm her role by bringing the next generation into the ship and my choices may not always be the most popular or current. I'd rather adapt than see the cruise line falter and loose markets. The food was a better than last year's cruise and that was a pleasant surprise. I expect good food from HAL and am usually only mildly disappointed by a dish now and then. But the current kitchen has surpassed my expectations and on this 14 day cruise I actually was looking to try more new dishes each day rather than resort to those I had earlier in the week and thought were good. The crow's Nest Bar has changed - the coffee machines are now a permanent part of the bar but that turned out surprisingly well, since I never would bother to walk around the corner with the old layout. I read about people missing the library but really don't understand since any time I tried to find a book (since 2009) the selection was never what I expected and I always just settled for something. I was so grateful to start using a tablet when they were available to bring all the books (and more) that I want. I miss the teak loungers on the promenade deck. Those aluminum and nylon contraptions they have were not any more comfortable and far less appealing to me. But I bet the maintenance people are pleased with the lower upkeep for them.I would certainly never keep a teak lounger at home for that reason. We are not big on the shows in the mail showroom. The couple we attended were good and well visited. And the discussions we heard from others on board indication most we're pleased with what was offered. The Lincoln Center Stage was often come-early for seating, and the crowd around the piano duet only got more involved each night. The ports were different for us and while Guatemala and Nicaragua are still industrial ports, HAL does a decent job of getting you out into the countryside. One word of caution - we talked to vendors at the port, and negotiated for a tour in Corinto, Guatemala only to be told we could not pay with a credit card as we were getting into the van. The bus driver would "take us into town to an ATM where we could get cash" but that had too many red flags for us to find it acceptable. Nothing was said during any of the negotiations that the deals was for cash payment. And our concern was that once away from the port, and stuck, the price would not be the same. And again, inside the "hospitality center" that large room with the musicians and tour desks, we were initially told we could use our credit card only to have the older woman at the counter tell the clerk that no, we could only use the card "in town at an ATM" to get cash to pay. Our advice - either book with HAL or book online before you get there. Our cabin service was a good as usual, although later in the day than we expected. I feel that HAL is reducing staff to improve margins and that's unfortunate, if they have. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this cruise mainly because it embarked from San Diego on a slightly smaller ship than we usually use. It's the first time that we have departed from a western cruise port and were curious about the recent refurbishment on the ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly because it embarked from San Diego on a slightly smaller ship than we usually use. It's the first time that we have departed from a western cruise port and were curious about the recent refurbishment on the Westerdam. Embarkation was very impressive and surprising laid back compared to the process from Florida ports. It was well organized, quick and seemless. The ship was in great condition and most of the changes from the refurbishment were nicely done. The public areas were finely appointed and always clean. We had reserved an aft veranda cabin (5184). Refer to the cabin review below. A great addition is the illuminated panels at all of the elevator doors that show what floor everything is located on. That was a huge help. Elevators were quick to respond except when shut down to accommodate luggage transfer. (To be expected, of course.) Having the day posted on the floor carpeting inside the elevators is also a nice touch. We dined in the Vista Dining Room on 5 of the 7 nights with conflicting results. The food was very good although with somewhat limited menu choices on a few of the nights What was disappointing was the lack of service on certain occasions. On the first formal evening, our table attendant cleared the main course dishes and never returned with dessert menus or coffee. That was a first for us on Holland America. Another evening he did serve coffee with the dessert but did not return with a refill offer. It seemed to me that they wanted us in and out as quickly as they could , with as little interaction as possible. We had all of our breakfasts in the dining room and enjoyed those experiences very much. The other two nights were done in the Pinnacle Grille and those suppers were outstanding in every respect. The lido area was not used except to pick up the odd coffee or tea. We were the only couple to rent a Cabana for the entire week and it was a major disappointment compared to the other ship cabanas that we have rented. The excessive noise from the fans was very annoying. The sideboards in the cabana were useless to us and the inside seating was not comfortable at all. The wall clock was operational but was not set to the correct time. The entertainment on board was refreshingly better than any other Holland America ship, This edition of the All Star band at the BB King Blues club was the best of all the cruises so far. The Piano Bar was also very good and the classical musicians all through the ship were exceptional. The comedian and magician were well worth seeing as well. We did not partake in any excursions, either private or through the ship offers. We walked around the ports and were constantly badgered by vendors hawking various merchandise or boating excursions. Puerto Vallarta was the nicest port in our opinion. Disembarkation was fantastic. We elected to carry our luggage from the ship ourselves which simplified and expedited the process greatly. If you have read this far, it must seem that this review is full of complaints and that it was a dreadful cruise, but I assure you that the good heavily outweighed the not so good and we have already booked 2 more cruises through Holland America. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We had never been to San Diego-- arrived 2 days pre cruise and stayed at the Republic Hotel on State and B. Easy walking distances to Little Italy and the Gaslamp Quarter. Loved restaurant Ironsides--- delicious and great service. ... Read More
We had never been to San Diego-- arrived 2 days pre cruise and stayed at the Republic Hotel on State and B. Easy walking distances to Little Italy and the Gaslamp Quarter. Loved restaurant Ironsides--- delicious and great service. Enjoyed Seaport Village---- and walking along the waterfront Spend day at the San Diego Zoo--- thoroughly enjoyed it. We stayed in an aft cabin - 5184 with a huge balcony. Wish they would put loungers back there to enjoy instead of upright chairs. Quiet location. We also booked a cabana for the duration of the cruise--- enjoy not having to deal with crowds and looking for table to eat at. on Lido We love the service--- lunch, drinks and a dedicated space to come to. Walked around Cabo- but tired of all the pestering ......... reminds me of Nassau. We did not get off in Mazatlán. We travelled in P.V. to Old Vallarta. Have a friend who owns Galleria Dante- on Basillo Badillo. We truly enjoyed visiting her gallery and the surrounding area. Would go back there in a heartbeat. Dining- enjoyed 2 dinners in the Pinnacle Grille-- delicious as always. Service in the dining room was unpredictable -- did not always get after dinner coffee. Seemed to be disorganized. Had a lovely table for 2 overlooking the 2nd floor railing We enjoyed the renovated area on forward deck 10------- combined bar and coffee service area. We enjoyed sitting up there to read or play cards. Large interactive screens Enjoyed the smaller number of cruise passengers--- and the easy embarkation and disembarkation from San Diego----- Much less stress than Florida ports. We would definitely cruise from San Diego and on Westerdam again if given the opportunity Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We came to San Diego for a Thanksgiving cruise and stayed at the Grand Horton Hotel for a great price. Nice historic hotel in Gas lamp district. Valet parking is $42. a night though. Glad a great dinner at Fleming's Steak House a ... Read More
We came to San Diego for a Thanksgiving cruise and stayed at the Grand Horton Hotel for a great price. Nice historic hotel in Gas lamp district. Valet parking is $42. a night though. Glad a great dinner at Fleming's Steak House a short walk away. We have been on 18 cruises with Princess and about 12 on other lines but had never been on Holland America. We parked at Wyndham Bayside and walked across the street to the ship. This is a midsized ship. There were short lines and embarked in about 15 minutes. Debarking was even shorter and about 10 minutes in customs!! The entire ship looks refurbished. Our room had new bed linens, curtains, carpeting, sofa, sofa pillows etc in a nice blue color. We had a balcony room. This room is a bit smaller than we were used to but in great condition. Loved the on demand movies. Customer service was excellent on the entire ship. Food was great in main dining room and LOVED Caneletto's Italian and ate there twice. Also loved Pinacle Grill for great steak dinner. Really good room service and had the buffet a couple of times. They have great entertainment choices. We loved Billboard for the dueling pianos with a lot of variety. BB King was very good and Lincoln Center had classical music. Shows at the main stage were average or better. Most people dressed up for formal (Gala) nights - 2. Had a fun tour in Mazatlan - Shrimp Fest. Beautiful grounds, live music, pool to get into, margaritas and great food. Hardly any one at champagne art auction. Usually there are 200 - 300 people at these. Only about 25 people. Between us and our friends we won 3 bottle of good champagne!! All in all a great cruise that we will take again!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
We had no family to spend Thanksgiving with so we left the day after; we had gotten a great deal on this cruise AND the next one, so did both; great price on a Signature Suite. Loved the food; our newly remodeled room, always enjoy the ... Read More
We had no family to spend Thanksgiving with so we left the day after; we had gotten a great deal on this cruise AND the next one, so did both; great price on a Signature Suite. Loved the food; our newly remodeled room, always enjoy the ports and handy having Wifi reasonable 24 hours a day to keep in touch with the world. We are 4 Star Mariners so have a few advantages from that but loved having a few meals in the Cantelleto and the Steak House on 2. Entertainment was good; a magician we had seen before was very good; a so so Comedian. Weather was perfect this time of year in ports. Love Holland America This ship is just the right size for us; holds 2000 guests and the walk from stem to stern is easily done with plenty of room for nice shops, the Lincoln Center Entertainment and the Casino and Piano bar we just loved. Holland America has gone to twin Pianos and these two just played together and entertained Very well; really added to the evening. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
Embarkation was smooth and seamless HAL has everything well coordinated. Our balcony cabin was the same as all signature class ships but our Room stewards were great. Matter of fact as we have come to expect with HAL the entire crew was ... Read More
Embarkation was smooth and seamless HAL has everything well coordinated. Our balcony cabin was the same as all signature class ships but our Room stewards were great. Matter of fact as we have come to expect with HAL the entire crew was excellent. Friendly beyond belief and they work so hard. The ship is scheduled for dry dock so I am hoping that the public areas get a little TLC. You can sure tell that the sea salt was winning over maintenance. Entertainment was ok nothing special an area HAL is working to improve but haven't succeeded yet. Food. Excellent best thing on HAL cruises is the food. For my dollar no other cruise line comes close but again my opinion. The food and service in the Lido and MDR is excellent. I am amazed the after one sitting our MDR team knew our names and shortly after what we liked. Shore Excursions were all done through HAL and they were all well coordinated. We do know that doing excursions on our own may be cheaper but the peace of mind that the ship will wait if a problem arrises is reassuring. Disembarkation was a bit of an experience Customs had two officers on duty so it was a very long and slow process. Friends we met on the ship spent over two hours in line. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We chose MS Westerdam for our Panama trip, decidedly for the itinerary. The number and destination of ports compared to cruise duration was exactly what we wanted. All the stops were very interesting. We booked several shore excursions, ... Read More
We chose MS Westerdam for our Panama trip, decidedly for the itinerary. The number and destination of ports compared to cruise duration was exactly what we wanted. All the stops were very interesting. We booked several shore excursions, mostly at destinations we had not previously visited. Overall the Westerdam is simliar to all other Holland America ships, however it does seem to be well worn, tired and in need of some attention to repairs. This is the only disappointing part of our trip was condition of the ship. Since our last HAL trip they have added a great salad bar which was a welcome addition. Otherwise food was good, but typical ship fare. However if you missed dinner by 8:30 your only option until 10:30 was pre-sliced pizza and pasta and no dessert option. Our room 5188 was well researched prior to booking. Deck 5 balconies are larger than other decks. The balcony is 100% covered which is good to provide shade during the day and coverage if raining. This is great for late afternoon when looking for respite from sun. Entertainment on board is very typical of cruise ships. However the B B King band was FABULOUS. Their band is truly amazing and we spent many evenings listening to band and dancing. The piano bar entertainer Damien was not very enjoyable as he tends to bang the piano rather than play and is not a very good singer. Overall service on the ship is good, however we found that the aft pool deck service could be drastically improved. During breakfast service it was difficult to find anyone to clean a table or provide coffee, during the day there was many dirty dishes and cups laying around and few people to take orders. This is also the first time on any ship that we found a couple of rude and seemingly resentful staff. We would take a Holland America cruise again if the price and itinerary was a good bargain, but HAL would not necessarily be our first choice. Puerto Vallarta -local bus to Bucerias. There is a Walmart right across from the cruise ship terminal just in case you forgot anything. Manzanillo - walked around the immediate area which has good shopping, interesting local sites. Huatulco - took local taxi to La Crucecita - $4. Back at cruise ship terminal there is a fabulous beach with a great swimming area, some watersports and on the beach restaurants with cheap beer. Guatemala - WONDERFUL took a shore excursion to Antigua which is one of the most beautiful clean cities we have visited. Spent several hours in Antigua looking at local sites and wished we had more time. Found the city to be very clean and felt comfortably safe. The site of volcanoes were amazing Nicaragua- took a shore excursion to Leon. Cathedral was interesting with beautiful views, but overall Nicaragua was very dirty and we did not venture very far from the town square as we did not feel safe. Costa Rica - beautiful, lush and very clean. Shore excursion to coffee plantation was very interesting and great trip through countrysite. Panama Canal - was much more interesting than expected. Local canal expert was on board ship for the entire transit providing details and history of the canal as we progressed. The front bow of the ship is opened and set up for viewing for the entire day. Next time I would like to read more about the history and details of the canal before cruise. Aruba - shore excursion to snorkel sites. Antilla shipwreck was beautiful with lots of fish; wreck was interesting and easy to see. second dive site was Ok but lacked variety of fish. Next time in Aruba we would most likely do similar dive but book on shore to save money. Curacao - spent most of day exploring Punda and Otrabanda. Beautiful locations, clean and we felt safe wandering around the town. Local restaurant upstairs in old fort by cruise ship terminal provided great views and excellent local beer. Jamaica - we had been advised not to venture out of cruise ship area on our own so we took an shore excursion to a local beach. This turned out to be a wise choice as outside the terminal is quite run down and mostly shanty housing. Beach was mostly clean with good facilities. Cruise ship terminal is a very unfriendly place where it seems the locals are not thrilled to have tourists there and also extremely expensive. We purchased a cup of coffee that was $5 for nothing special. Grand Cayman - our only tender site. George town was crazy busy with cruise ships but everything seemed to move along quite quickly. Since we knew ahead of time that there was going to be 6 ships in port that day we booked a shore excursion to Tiki Beach. This facility is clean and well run, however there is not much of a swimming area as there is a coral reef about 6 - 10 feet off shore. Next time I would most likely get off ship and take a taxi to a different beach club. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
The cruise was chosen because it went the whole length of the Panama Canal and we wished to visit the ports on the Pacific and in the Caribbean. To that end, we thoroughly enjoyed the climate, environment, people and places all very new ... Read More
The cruise was chosen because it went the whole length of the Panama Canal and we wished to visit the ports on the Pacific and in the Caribbean. To that end, we thoroughly enjoyed the climate, environment, people and places all very new to us. Just about all of the passengers were "seniors". Many were youthful, energetic and sharp-witted, but not all.. The Westerdam, despite being only 15 or so years old, seems tired and the forthcoming refit really needed. A/C was very dry and there very many people coughing. Not a good sign. The Vista Lounge (theatre) was smaller than i expected seating around 600 people, about a third of the 1,800 on board. Also, many seats have restricted view, so effectively reducing capacity further. The food was generally good and very good in the Vista Dining Room. The Lido self-service tended to be high in salt, sugar and fat, though the salads were first class. I suppose the casino make money but its presence saddened me. Sorry but I don;t go away for three weeks to play blackjack or a one armed bandit. There was a lot of marketing and selling which I don't recall from my last HAL cruise, but that was over 5 years ago. The service charge on drinks was a mystery, Why don't they just add 15% to the price of the drinks and display it on the menu? The supposedly duty free well known goods in the shop are cheaper here at home duty paid - though I admit many of the variations of spirits and liqueurs are export only. Excursions were well managed, though there could have been more that were cultural and educational. I realise there's a convenience and guarantee with these excursions, but they did seem to be expensive. The ship's library was not particularly comprehensive though I did find a couple of gems. The staff were first class and they delivered everything punctually, politely and courteously. Our only delays were not of HAL;s making - we spent far too long queuing at US immigration.. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We wanted to see the Panama Canal and Central America countries. This cruise not disappoint. All except the tour in Costa Rica on a boat and a train. So disappointing . On the boat thought we'd see bunches of monkeys and other wild ... Read More
We wanted to see the Panama Canal and Central America countries. This cruise not disappoint. All except the tour in Costa Rica on a boat and a train. So disappointing . On the boat thought we'd see bunches of monkeys and other wild creatures , plus many crocs. Saw th e head of a croc and no. Monkeys..only a few birds..no big deal. The train ride was hot and uncomfortable. Th e ships areas differed in ho t and freezing cold that we had to buy sweaters on ship as area going into the entertainment area was like walking into a freezer. I wish there was more information by people from the different countries to explain their country to us..before our tours. Our room stewards and our wait staff in the dining room were excellent and couldn't have been more helpful . The staff in the buffet areas were right on top of keeping the tables cleaned and couldn't have helped more with coffee, juice, etc. the people behind the food area were friendly, helpful and pleasant. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
On March 4, 2017, my wife and I disembarked from an 18 Day round trip cruise from San Diego, CA. to Hawaii aboard the Holland America cruise ship ms Westerdam. First let me tell you what we liked about our journey, because I also ... Read More
On March 4, 2017, my wife and I disembarked from an 18 Day round trip cruise from San Diego, CA. to Hawaii aboard the Holland America cruise ship ms Westerdam. First let me tell you what we liked about our journey, because I also want to let you know what we DID NOT like, and why we were very disappointed in this overall cruise experience. The 2 young men, Rozi and Nana, that took care of our cabin were outstanding and treated us with respect and made us feel like VIPs. The Cruise Director Simon and his Assistant Taylor were also outstanding. They genuinely enjoyed their position, and worked very hard at entertaining the passengers. The nightly shows were very entertaining, especially Viviana Guzman and Rob Watson. Our dining room waiter, Riris, was very professional, and accommodating to all of our wants and needs. We booked our cruise through CostCo Travel. We had originally booked a Balcony Stateroom, Stateroom Room # 5076. During the time we first made our reservations on March 18, 2016, until January 11, 2017 my wife’s medical conditions deteriorated to the point where she now required a Mobility Scooter. We contacted CostCo Travel to inquire about getting a handicap room large enough to accommodate the Mobility Scooter . Unfortunately, NO handicap rooms were available. We had CostoCo Travel further inquire if there was someplace other than in our room to park the scooter since there was not sufficient room in our cabin to park it. At this point we were told NO, and the only option was for a larger stateroom. When I inquired about the upgrade, I was told it would cost an additional $ 3760.00. At first I declined, thinking I would just have to dismantle the scooter to store it in the room every night. The scooter comes apart into 5 pieces. I really didn’t think the additional cost was a good value for the little extra space provided, however my wife convinced me to upgrade to the Signature suite. So Now we are aboard the ship in a $10,767.66 Signature Suite # 8058 with a scooter. On our way to our cabin after the Vista Lounge show, and what do we see. Two scooters parked in the forward elevator area. We were told that there were NO areas where we could park a scooter outside of our cabin, yet here are 2 scooters, and we paid an additional $3,760.66 for a larger room for us to park our scooter inside the cabin. I was very disappointed with the service in the Lido Market. I was hoping to get some assistance with getting food for my handicapped wife. Why aren’t trays available for people to use to pick up their food in one trip instead of having to make several trips through the lines to get ones food? Not once did I receive assistance carrying several plates for me and my wife to the table. The Lido Waiters seemed more interested in filling glasses with tea and lemonade than assisting folks. I believe there was an exceptional number of a folk with handicaps on board this cruise. We chose this cruise because we live in San Diego, therefore No Airports, and NO Airplane travel required. We didn't realize it was a Senior Cruise until we got on board and got a look at the other guests. Not a problem, we are 75 years old. If I had to guess the average age of the guests on board this cruise, I would say it was 77. Breakfast: For 18 days, there was “LUMPY” and “WATERY” oatmeal, cream-of-wheat , and grits. I’m not a cook, but it quit apparent what was going on. Whoever was making these items was doing it backward. You do NOT pour the hot water into the pot of dry oatmeal, cream-of-wheat , and grits, but you stir the oatmeal, cream-of-wheat , and grits into the pot of HOT water to prevent Lumps. Because the dry ingredients did NOT absorb the liquid properly, the mixture was watery. We don’t eat eggs every day for breakfast at home, so we applied the same rule to the cruise. The days I ordered an omelet, I received what looked more like a scrambled eggs. When the cook went to flip the omelet it just fell apart. I don’t know what they mixed into the omelet batter, but it was obvious there was something in there besides just eggs. The egg batter looked clabbered, and also tasted strange. Lunch: We are soup for lunch people so we were looking forward to a nice tasty bowl of soup during the cruise. I don’t know if the cook thought he was making GOURMET soups, but his concoctions were terrible. You don’t mess with Chicken Noodle Soup, it does NOT NEED anything added to it, just serve tasty chicken noodle soup. The same goes for chicken with wild rice. Beef barley if done right doesn’t need anything else added. The worst was the “Navy Bean Soup” Why would anyone puree all the beans and call it soup. On the other side Broccoli soup taste much better as Broccoli-Cheese soup. Pureed broccoli in a cream base is BLAH! Diner: If you are going to serve fish, you need to have a cook that knows how to cook fish. Over cooked fish is unacceptable. The salmon, mahi mahi and other fish that were served were over cooked and dried out. The Mexican Food served on the Friday we docked in Mexico was SO BAD, I couldn’t believe it was being served. You would have been better off going to CostCo and purchased their ready made burritos and enchiladas heated them up and served them. I have to question the ability of the cooks you hire. I have lived in San Diego for over 50 years, so Mexican Food is something we have frequently. The Chicken Marsala I ordered that was on the menu in the main dining was very disappointing. Chicken Marsala is already a tasty gourmet dish, and should not have anything added to it. The dried cranberries that were in the dish I was served diluted the flavor of the Marsala sautéed mushrooms. If the cooks do not know how to cook, they need to at least try following a recipe. Due to the taste and quality of the food served on this cruise, it created problems for my diabetic wife. She had a difficult time finding things to satisfy her TASTE and maintain her blood sugar levels. I sincerely hope someone looks into these matters and does something to correct them. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
Having long wanted to visit Hawaii, and disinclined to take any more flights than necessary, I saw this as a perfect opportunity to escape some of winter. Additionally, we have a Navy Seal grandson stationed at San Diego, so the two ... Read More
Having long wanted to visit Hawaii, and disinclined to take any more flights than necessary, I saw this as a perfect opportunity to escape some of winter. Additionally, we have a Navy Seal grandson stationed at San Diego, so the two days before and one day after allowed time to catch up, as well as to enjoy the city. The only downside was the horrendous music festival on March 4-5, whose sound penetrated our adjoining hotel's walls. I have no problem with other people choosing their music, but do not like being kept awake by what amounted to a public nuisance. We enjoyed dinner at Little Italy, and the entire waterfront area. Boarding was badly handled due to long lines at check-in because there was only one person doing initial ID checks on the close to two thousand boarding passengers. Once past this initial bottleneck, everything went swiftly and smoothly. Debarkation was very smooth and efficient. MDR service was traditional HAL quality, menu selections were good - and well served. Entertainment was also traditional HAL - not exciting, but reasonable - except for the over-produced cast shows: the singers and dancers were talented, but the productions were pretentious. We had a couple of minor problems with stateroom: air conditioning and toilet - but they were competently addressed when reported. If you enjoy being at sea and courteous, friendly service, and good food - but do not require endless go-go entertainment, this itinerarynnis ideal. If you require much external stimulation, you might want to think,of other lines. We enjoyed it. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
Celebrating 50 years of marriage. Wanted an adult cruise, few kids. we haven't cruised in 25 years so things change. Most people on this cruise were older, 70's plus, and many were physically challenged. We are "young ... Read More
Celebrating 50 years of marriage. Wanted an adult cruise, few kids. we haven't cruised in 25 years so things change. Most people on this cruise were older, 70's plus, and many were physically challenged. We are "young 70's" and were pretty bored. First five days were at sea. Not a lot of entertainment. BB King Allstars were fantastic, main shows not so much. Service onboard was exceptional. Our cabin stewards (DoDo and SoSo) were outstanding. Wait staff and food service staff were fantastic. Only complaints I had were they ran out of Crown Royal half way through the cruise???? There was one waiter pouring coffee on the Lido deck so you might as well plan on serving yourself in the morning. Breakfast was nothing special, eggs, bacon etc. Made to order eggs were very good and cooked to perfection. Main dining room we did not care for. Breakfast was cold when served, eggs were very runny and bacon was not cooked enough. Couldn't get any coffee there either. Commented on the survey card sent to our room. Head waiter apologized and assured us it wouldn't happen again. Next morning, cold breakfast etc. We were disappointed in the food overall. I would compare it to Golden Corral. It was always hot but not much variety. All the breads were very crusty and tough. Very hard to bite into for us older folks. Not much choice for desserts. As I said earlier it has been some time since our last cruise and we remembered the lavish buffets and meals. We took a couple shore excursions and we enjoyed them very much. Only complaint was there were no bathroom facilities on board and no arrangements to stop anywhere. Not a good idea to feed "old folks" a big breakfast and then stick them on a bus for hours. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We were interested in a warm weather cruise with plenty of sea days. Usually cruise with Celebrity But this was our 4th cruise on HAL The ship is a good size & tastefully decorated except for a couple of ghastly ornate benches near ... Read More
We were interested in a warm weather cruise with plenty of sea days. Usually cruise with Celebrity But this was our 4th cruise on HAL The ship is a good size & tastefully decorated except for a couple of ghastly ornate benches near some elevators. The lounge areas were nice & comfy. Entertainment was varied. The BB King show was great! There were usually 3 shows per evening with a couple nights off ; Some of the lectures were interesting & some so so;. Good movies but poor viewing area. At least the movies could be watched the next day on the cabin tv. ; There is a DVD player in the cabin & DVDS may be borrowed @ no charge from Guest Relations ; There is an American Test Kitchen that was a cooking demo. It appeared to be very popular just not for me.; THE BAND was excellent & had frequent shows;. There was the usual trivia shows & bingo .; Several dance classes for tango.cha-cha, line dancing, waltz. Several bars but our fav was the Ocean Bar Food above average but Celebrity may be a bit better , WE ate dinner in MDR & Lido Marketplace. Great crew!!! Comfortable cabins but dreadful lighting around vanity/ desk. BEST DISEMBARKATION EVER ! Read Less
Westerdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 4.5 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 2.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.5 4.3
Value For Money 4.5 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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